Completed Estes Maxi Alpha 3

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Finished up the Estes Maxi Alpha 3. Fun build. I could have finished it in one night but I wanted to fill the spirals and put a good finish on it. Paint is Krylon's gloss white and banner red.
2017-06-14 01.21.39.jpg
 

Flyfalcons

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That turned out really well! These are so much fun to fly on D12-3s. Big, low and slow, and a slow descent on that big parachute, too.
 
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I will probably use it as a demo for my classes during the school year. Will have to use D12-3's due to field size. I reinforced the fin attachments with epoxy and added a stronger (and longer) shock cord. Thanks for the kind words!
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I will probably use it as a demo for my classes during the school year. Will have to use D12-3's due to field size. I reinforced the fin attachments with epoxy and added a stronger (and longer) shock cord. Thanks for the kind words!
It's a great demo rocket, due to large size. And the D12-3 motor is also perfect for demo flights, because the ejection and deployment happen close enough to the ground that you actually get to see it. (And the E9 and E12 motors run a greater risk of Cato, which is not ideal for demos!)

I really like the MAIII for a few reasons. It doesn't cost much, and you can build it really fast. It's big size makes it a great platform for custom decorating, if you want to get away from the stock livery. I've built more than half a dozen of them over time as gifts for people and have done a lot of custom paint jobs. But it also looks good stock with minimal effort, or is easy for kids to custom decorate with stickers. Plus, it's a pretty good flyer with nice slow flights.

You mentioned epoxy fillets, which is a really good idea. The rocket has a few cheap and fragile components, and those fin tabs always break, so the epoxy helps. I usually upgrade the shock cord too, and I like to upgrade to a nylon chute. Next one I build, I'm going to use an Estes 24mm screw-on retainer. Another problem I've noticed is that over time the stuffer tube gets kind of roasted from ejection charges and begins to pinch in and choke off the ejection. I'm thinking of reinforcing the top section of the motor mount tube by glueing a "splint" tube around it to double the thickness.
 

RickGr4

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Thought I might chime in here because I have plenty of experience with MAIII. I have four of them. Two of them are assembled and flying. One is a brand new spare. The fourth is an old school kit I bought on eBay that I may build someday.

I have never flown MAIII with anything larger than a D12-5 but it always flies well. Stable and steady. However I agree about the fin tabs breaking so when ever I work on MAIII (and Red Flare) I always add glue to the lower fin tabs. They are a weak point.

I have had no issues with shock cords or parachutes.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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Thought I might chime in here because I have plenty of experience with MAIII. I have four of them. Two of them are assembled and flying. One is a brand new spare. The fourth is an old school kit I bought on eBay that I may build someday.

I have never flown MAIII with anything larger than a D12-5 but it always flies well. Stable and steady. However I agree about the fin tabs breaking so when ever I work on MAIII (and Red Flare) I always add glue to the lower fin tabs. They are a weak point.

I have had no issues with shock cords or parachutes.
If you've never flown your MAIII on anything larger than a D12-3, and you have access to a large enough field, you might want to give it a shot.

Estes E9 is a slow, majestic takeoff and longer burn --- very nice flight, but you want to have a long rod (around 6'), and no wind, because the rocket can weather cock into a breeze and head down range like a cruise missile. Some would say the motor is under-powered for that rocket, and if it's built heavy like mine, that's probably true, but under the right conditions, it's a nice flight.

Estes E12 has a stronger takeoff and straighter flight than the E9. Those two motors have almost the same impulse, but different thrust. So they go to almost exactly the same altitude, just at different speeds.

I've never had a Cato with an E9 or an E12, but I've seen a lot of them at club launches, and some people worry about it. An Aerotech single use E20 is a pretty awesome alternative. The MAIII really takes off with authority on that one, and it goes much higher that it does on the Estes motors.

If your field is small, stick with the D12, but if conditions allow it, you might want to try some of the other motors.
 

RickGr4

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If you've never flown your MAIII on anything larger than a D12-3, and you have access to a large enough field, you might want to give it a shot.

Estes E9 is a slow, majestic takeoff and longer burn --- very nice flight, but you want to have a long rod (around 6'), and no wind, because the rocket can weather cock into a breeze and head down range like a cruise missile. Some would say the motor is under-powered for that rocket, and if it's built heavy like mine, that's probably true, but under the right conditions, it's a nice flight.

Estes E12 has a stronger takeoff and straighter flight than the E9. Those two motors have almost the same impulse, but different thrust. So they go to almost exactly the same altitude, just at different speeds.

I've never had a Cato with an E9 or an E12, but I've seen a lot of them at club launches, and some people worry about it. An Aerotech single use E20 is a pretty awesome alternative. The MAIII really takes off with authority on that one, and it goes much higher that it does on the Estes motors.

If your field is small, stick with the D12, but if conditions allow it, you might want to try some of the other motors.
Barbarian,

I fly on a small field (roughly 1100ft x 600ft) which is directly underneath a main runway for MSP airport. Not only do I need to plan for the wind but I need to consider jet wake as well. Recently I launched Show Stopper with a D engine (by mistake) and I think the rocket landed in the next county... LOL

That being said, I think I have learned enough about my surroundings that I am getting ready to fly MAIII and Top Shot on E engines.
 
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